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Northfield Mount Hermon School music teachers compete for educator Grammy

  • Ron Smith, Northfield Mount Hermon's band and jazz program director.<br/>Northfield Mount Hermon School/Glenn Minshall

    Ron Smith, Northfield Mount Hermon's band and jazz program director.
    Northfield Mount Hermon School/Glenn Minshall

  • Sheila Heffernon, chairwoman of Northfield Mount Hermon School's performing arts program.<br/>Northfield Mount Hermon School/Glenn Minshall

    Sheila Heffernon, chairwoman of Northfield Mount Hermon School's performing arts program.
    Northfield Mount Hermon School/Glenn Minshall

  • Ron Smith, Northfield Mount Hermon's band and jazz program director.<br/>Northfield Mount Hermon School/Glenn Minshall
  • Sheila Heffernon, chairwoman of Northfield Mount Hermon School's performing arts program.<br/>Northfield Mount Hermon School/Glenn Minshall

GILL — One of two local teachers could be on the way to the 2015 Grammy Awards ceremony.

Northfield Mount Hermon School music teachers Shelia Heffernon and Ron Smith are among 222 quarter-finalists for the annual Grammy Music Educator Award.

Heffernon is the school’s choral and vocal director as well as performing arts chairwoman, and has been at NMH since 1980. Smith is the director of the school’s band and jazz program and has taught at NMH since 2000.

The two were nominated by several students, NMH alumni and fellow music teachers. Both have been nominated in the past, but neither made it to the quarter-finals.

Organizers received more than 7,000 nominations this year, and the two NMH teachers were delighted to see that they made the first cut.

“It’s a real honor to be recognized, and to be even considered,” said Smith.

Heffernon said neither of them could have done it alone.

“It is a gift to be surrounded by talented colleagues and students who inspire me every day,” she said. “They deserve this honor as much as I do because we all make it happen together. That’s why I love my job.”

The award is given out by Grammy in the Schools, a partner organization of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which holds the annual Grammy Awards.

The music educator award was created to honor music teachers from kindergarten through college. Without them, organizers say, the world of music may be a much different place.

“For every performer who makes it to the Grammy stage, there was a teacher who played a critical role in getting them there,” reads the Grammy in the Schools website. “Maybe they introduced you to your first instrument. Or they showed you how to get over your stage fright. Or maybe they just inspired you to have the confidence to go for it when you were ready to give up.”

Nominees will be evaluated based on the difference they’ve made in students’ lives, their contributions to the field of music education, and their impact on their schools and communities. They must also show that they are examples of the best in their field and that they are committed to maintaining music education in schools.

Quarter-finalists will submit essays, testimonials and other materials to make their cases. The pool of 222 will be culled to a few dozen semifinalists, from which 10 finalists will be chosen, each of whom will receive a $1,000 prize.

In the end, one winner will be selected. The winner will be flown to Los Angeles for the Feb. 8 award ceremony to accept their award and a $10,000 honorarium.

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